An ISIS 9/11 Attack On America With WMDs In 2016

U.S. intelligence agencies confirm that ISIS has used chemical weapons, warn it will attempt direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016, and is infiltrating refugee groups fleeing Iraq and Syria. (Ho/Zuma Press/Newscom)

U.S. intelligence agencies confirm that ISIS has used chemical weapons, warn it will attempt direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016, and is infiltrating refugee groups fleeing Iraq and Syria. (Ho/Zuma Press/Newscom)

IBD, Feb. 12, 2016:

National Security: The CIA director confirms that the Islamic State uses chemical weapons days after the director of national intelligence says ISIS is planning attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016. Connect the dots.

CIA Director John Brennan, in a CBS News “60 Minutes” interview that will air Sunday, said ISIS has “used chemical munitions on the battlefield” and can construct chlorine and mustard gas-releasing weapons.

Earlier this week, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ISIS will “attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016,” and that the caliphate is infiltrating the refugees fleeing the ISIS mayhem in Iraq and Syria.

At the same hearing on Tuesday, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said ISIS operatives are “pretty skilled at phony passports, so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers,” with Syrian passport machines having been commandeered by the terrorist organization.

The “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community” Clapper presented to Congress on Tuesday said ISIS “has become the preeminent terrorist threat.”

So ISIS is “the preeminent terrorist threat” in the world.

It can make and has used weapons of mass destruction.

It is hiding among refugees, using fake passports to cross borders.

And it will “attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”

Can we please put two and two together? If ISIS is going to cross our border and attack America, why wouldn’t it shoot for the moon and use chemical weapons against us in assaults that would make the 9/11 attacks look like a walk in the park?

ISIS wouldn’t even have to smuggle them in. ABC News recently asked experts such as Michael Allswede of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and Thomas Inglesby of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at Johns Hopkins University about terrorists making chemical weapons surreptitiously within the U.S.

“Because they’re relatively easy and inexpensive to manufacture, chemical weapons have long been considered ‘the poor man’s atomic bomb,’ ” they said, and “could be dispersed from a crop-dusting plane, from aerosols, or by distributing the chemical in water supplies.”

This nation should be on Code Red right now with a “severe risk of terrorist attack” — a WMD terrorist attack that could kill many thousands. Except that President Obama abolished the color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale five years ago.

Also see:

Horowitz: Jihad in Columbus: Somali Muslim Attacks Restaurant Owned by Israeli Christian

Men talk outside the Columbus, Ohio, restaurant where police say a man attacked several people with a machete on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Authorities say the man fled the scene and was later fatally shot by police. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

Men talk outside the Columbus, Ohio, restaurant where police say a man attacked several people with a machete on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Authorities say the man fled the scene and was later fatally shot by police. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, February 12, 2016:

Here we go again.  As you slept comfortably in your bed last night there was another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  There is a total media blackout and no buzz on twitter, but a Somali man, Mohamed Barry, is a suspect in a machete attack on a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.  The  is owned by an Israeli Christian so it’s not a surprise that it would be a target for jihad.  Four people were hospitalized, one with critical injuries.  Patrick Poole of PJ Media has more details.

And guess what? The FBI is investigating it as a “lone wolf” attack:

CBS News has identified the suspect as Mohammad Barry, however neither 10TV nor Columbus Police have confirmed the suspect’s name.  CBS News also reports Barry has a Somali background and may have traveled to Dubai in 2012.  

Law enforcement tells them the incident appears to be the type of “lone wolf terrorist attacks they’re trying to stop.”

As always, the FBI has declined to release the man’s immigration history.  Senators Sessions and Cruz have already identified 113 Muslims involved in attempted terror plots on American soil and have demanded information on their immigration history.  The Obama administration has thus far refused to cooperate.

It’s important to note that while everyone is focusing solely on Syrian refugees, we’ve actually had more problems from Somali Muslim immigrants.  We’ve taken in over 130,000 refugees from Somalia since 1993 and Columbus likely has the second largest population of these refugees (behind Minneapolis).  Even to the extent Republicans want to discuss the problem with refugees, they engage in political correctness in limiting the problem to Syria, as if it’s a problem limited to “ISIS infiltrators,” not a problem with the Islamic supremacist ideology endemic of many Muslims from numerous other countries as well.

The other important detail here is that the suspect allegedly traveled to volatile countries over the past few years.  Obviously, we have to get the full details in this case, but there is no reason we should not be monitoring such travel more carefully and watching those returning from these countries under suspicious circumstances.  Yet, Congress refuses to deal with those who are already known to have travelled to foreign countries to fight with terrorist organizations.   Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are balking at Sen. Cruz’s Expatriate Terrorist Act, which strips citizenship from those convicted of fighting for foreign terror groups.

Over the past few years, dozens of Somali refugees have gone over to fight for foreign terror groups, yet Congress did nothing to stop Obama from bringing in another 15,000 refugees from east Africa this year.  Unfortunately, until we bring this under control, these attacks will be a regular occurrence.

How many more people will have to die before it is socially acceptable among the political elites to place the security of American citizens above their own feigned sanctimony?

Also see:

US Intel Chief: Islamic Terror Threat Biggest in History

ISIS fighters

ISIS fighters

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 11, 2016:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said February 9 the Sunni terrorist threat “has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s and has more groups, members and safe havens that at any other point in history.”

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart also testified and his assessment wasn’t rosier.

More than 36,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria, including at least 6,000 from Western countries, since 2012, said Stewart. Within the U.S., the FBI arrested some five dozen Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) supporters last year, a 500% increase from 2014.

“ISIL will likely increase the pace and lethality of its transnational attacks as infrastructure and capabilities mature. It will purposely attempt to stroke sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunnis and between the West and Islam to create the chaotic environment in which it thrives,” Stewart said.

Watch the Clarion Project on Newsmax TV’s “Newsmax Prime with J.D. Hayworth” discussing this topic:

The Islamic State will hold onto Mosul in Iraq through at least the end of the year, Stewart believes. It is the centerpiece of the caliphate in Iraq and has enormous ideological value to the group. The reason is that the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shiite and Sunni elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (a coalition of militias, many of which are linked to Iran) lack the logistics, morale, qualified soldiers and overall military preparedness.

Stewart said the program to enlist Sunnis in the fight against ISIS—which proved decisive in beating back Al-Qaeda previously—is failing because of concerns about Iranian influence, persecution by Shiite militias and a lack of funding and material. The latter two elements validate Sunni complaints that the U.S. is inadequately supporting them due to the Iraqi central government’s insistence that all U.S. assistance be routed through Baghdad.

Clapper’s statement that Sunni terrorism has been on an “upward trajectory” casts a shadow over the Obama Administration’s  boast that ISIS has lost 40% of its caliphate in Iraq and 20% of it in Syria. It is true ISIS has lost ground and the statistic may be accurate, but Clapper’s statement shows it does not tell the whole story.

The testimonies of Clapper and Stewart explain that ISIS is expanding outside of Iraq and Syria, especially in Libya. The U.S. can and should boast of successes against ISIS, but the statistic doesn’t account for ISIS’ gains globally.

It also doesn’t mean progress against ISIS necessarily translates to overall progress in the war against Islamist terrorism. Clapper said al-Qaeda is poised to strengthen in 2016 because of its affiliates in Yemen and Syria. If ISIS’ holdings in Syria transfer to al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Jabhat al-Nusra (or another Islamist extremist group), then there’s no net gain.

Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee the ideological makeup of the Syrian rebels is projected to become even more radical in 2016. The chief reason is the Syrian regime’s advances on the ground with the help of Russia and Iran will cause more rebel groups to coalesce with Sunni extremists.

The two intelligence directors also see Afghanistan as an area with growth potential for al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and others. Clapper believes ISIS’ branch in Afghanistan known as Khorasan is likely to only be a “low-level threat,” but the intelligence community has consistently underestimated the terrorist group. Stewart worries that al-Qaeda “could establish a significant presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” if pressure on the group decreases.

“[The Islamist insurgency is] steadily chipping away at Afghanistan’s security…we assess that fighting in 2016 will be more intense than in 2015, continuing a decade-long trend of deteriorating security,” Clapper said.

On the topic of Iran, the intelligence chiefs did not predict a change in the Shiite terrorist threat. Stewart warned Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have threatened to attack U.S. personnel there and some Shiite militiamen have attempted to do so. An Iran-backed militia kidnapped three American civilians working as contractors in Baghdad, just last month,.

Stewart absolved Iran of responsibility for the Shiite militias’ violence towards Americans and Coalition forces, saying it is “almost certainly not at the direction of Iran or [militia] group leadership.”

Even if that’s true—a big if—why shouldn’t Iran be blamed? It is supporting extremist militias who have an anti-American agenda and whose members are inclined to do that very thing. Perhaps Iran wants it to happen and knows it doesn’t even need to direct the Shiite extremists to do it. That would achieve plausible deniability while positioning itself as the power broker to whom the U.S. must plead for help.

Stewart also testified Iran is planning to launch a Space-Launch Vehicle equivalent to a nuclear-capable ICBM. He said it could happen this year, adding Iran continues to work on improving ballistic missile accuracy, range and lethality.

Iran was also rated as one of the top three foreign intelligence threats to the U.S. alongside Russia and China. Stewart said “some of these foreign intelligence entities also seek to influence our national policy and decision-making process.”

The most positive parts of their testimonies focused on the U.S.-backed Kurdish fight against ISIS and some encouraging news from Afghanistan.

Clapper said the Afghan National Security Forces will “probably” retain control of the major population centers and their losses will be limited to some rural areas with a small population. Stewart said the Afghan special forces are significantly improving and the Afghans have secured almost all of the provincial capitals and major highways. They have also shown they are capable of launching major counter-attacks like they did in Kunduz after a surprise routing at the hands of the Taliban.

Overall, the assessment was very bleak. Sunni extremists are getting stronger. Shiite extremists are, at best, not weakening and Iran is advancing its ballistic missile program for delivering nuclear weapons.

A summary of two intelligence chiefs’ statements could be written like this: The trend is in the enemy’s favor.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking 

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Also see:

Intelligence Director: Al-Qaeda ‘Positioned to Make Gains in 2016’

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper looks at his notes during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats on Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper looks at his notes during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats on Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, FEBRUARY 9, 2016

The director of national intelligence warned Congress this morning that “unpredictable instabilities have become the new normal, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.”

In a briefing of worldwide threats referred to as his “litany of doom,” James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “violent extremists” are “operationally active in about 40 countries.”

“Seven countries are experiencing a collapse of central government authority, 14 others face regime-threatening or violent instability or both. Another 59 countries face a significant risk of instability through 2016,” he said.

Russia and China “continue to have the most sophisticated cyber programs” and China continues cyber espionage against the United States.

“Whether China’s commitment of last September moderates its economic espionage” — a vow touted by President Obama — “remains to be seen,” Clapper noted. “Iran and North Korea continue to conduct cyber espionage as they enhance their attack capabilities.”

ISIS, he said, “displays unprecedented online proficiency”and “at least 38,200 foreign fighters, including at least 6,900 from western countries, have traveled to Syria from at least 120 countries since the beginning of the conflict in 2012.”

From 2014 to 2015, the number of ISIS supporters arrested by the FBI increased fivefold.

And despite repeated administration insistence that the “core” of al-Qaeda has been decimated, Clapper said they’ve bounced back just fine, with a network of affiliates “proven resilient despite counterterrorism pressure.”

“Al-Qaeda’s affiliates are positioned to make gains in 2016,” the director said, citing al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the al-Nusra front in Syria as “the two most capable al-Qaeda branches.”

Iran, Clapper noted, “continues to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism and exert its influence and regional crisis in the Mid East.”

“Through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, its terrorist partner, Lebanese, Hezbollah and proxy groups,” he said. “Iran and Hezbollah remain a continuing terrorist threat to U.S. interest and partners worldwide.”

On the nuclear deal, “Iran probably views the JCPOA as a means to remove sanctions, while preserving nuclear capabilities. Iran’s perception of how the JCPOA helps it to achieve its overall strategic goals will dictate the level of adherence to the agreement over time.”

North Korea “continues to produce fissile material and develop a submarine launched ballistic missile” and is “also committed to developing a long-range nuclear armed missile that’s capable of posing a direct threat to the United States, although the system has not been flight tested,” Clapper continued.

Russia, meanwhile, “continues to have the largest and most capable foreign nuclear-armed ballistic missile force” and China “continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure, second-strike capability.” Russia and China are also the greatest threats to the U.S. in terms of foreign intelligence, he said.

And despite the Obama administration lauding its deal with the Assad regime after it crossed the “red line” of using chemical weapons as a triumph of democracy that depleted the dictator’s stockpile, “chemical weapons continue to pose a threat to Syria and Iraq.”

“Damascus has used chemicals against the opposition on multiple occasions since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Clapper said. “ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent sulfur mustard, the first time an extremist group has produced and used a chemical warfare agent in an attack since Aum Shinrikyo used sarin in Japan in 1995.”

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart warned that ISIS “will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”

In Russia, Stewart noted, “military activity has continued at a historical high.”

“Moscow continues to pursue aggressive foreign and defense policies, including conducting operations in Syria, sustaining involvement in Ukraine and expanding military capabilities in the Arctic. Last year, the Russian military continued its robust exercise schedule and aggressively and occasionally provocative out of area deployments,” he said. “We anticipate similar high levels of military activity in 2016.”

Russian and Chinese cyberattacks “target DOD personnel, networks, supply chain, research and development, and critical structural information in cyber domain.”

Stewart said during questioning from the committee that he does not see Mosul being recaptured from ISIS this year.

“I’m less optimistic in the near-term about Mosul. I think there’s lots of work to be done yet out in the western part. I don’t believe that Ramadi is completely secure, so they have to secure Ramadi. They have to secure the Hit-Haditha corridor in order to have some opportunity to fully encircle and bring all the forces against Mosul,” the DIA director said.

“Mosul will be a complex operation, and so I’m not as optimistic. As you say, it’s a large city. I’m not as optimistic that we’ll be able to turn that in the near-term, in my view, certainly not this year. We may be able to begin the campaign, do some isolation operations around Mosul. But securing or taking Mosul is an extensive operation and not something I see in the next year or so.”

Also see:

MCCAUL RELEASES FEBRUARY TERROR THREAT SNAPSHOT

Homeland Security Committee, Feb. 8, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The February Terror Threat Snapshot was released today by Homeland Security Committee (HSC) Chairman Michael McCaul. The “snapshot” is a monthly Committee assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

Chairman McCaul: “The Islamist terror threat remains alarmingly high as recent arrests and terror plots demonstrate. ISIS recruits wage war in our communities, while thousands of deadly fighters trained in Syria stream back into the West – some of them infiltrating massive refugee flows. ISIS continues its global expansion on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the still-dangerous al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seizes greater territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin and the revitalized Iran-Assad-Hezbollah terror axis are further destabilizing the Syrian crisis in the absence of U.S. leadership. This year is on track to be as dangerous as – if not worse than – 2015 for the American homeland and our national security.”

Key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include:

  • The Iranian regime gained access to $100 billion in cash from the disastrous nuclear deal and is poised for further economic relief that will fuel its global network of terror.
  • An increasing number of battle-hardened fighters from Europe are returning from jihadist training grounds. Nearly 2,000 Europeans – among an estimated 6,600 Western fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq – have snuck back into Europe. A French counterterrorism official recently warned, “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries…We know the terrorists are working on this.”
  • Islamist terrorists are exploiting global refugee flows to infiltrate and target the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence chief recently said terrorists “have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.” A suspected ISIS terror plotter arrested in Germany this week snuck into Europe posing as a refugee. The European Union also recently assessed there is a “real and imminent danger” of Syrian refugees inside Europe being radicalized and recruited by Islamist extremists.
  • ISIS and al Qaeda are expanding their sanctuaries from North Africa to South Asia. ISIS is reinforcing its foothold in Libya, where it has amassed as many as 6,500 fighters and controls coastal territory on the Mediterranean Sea. Al Qaeda is making further gains in Yemen and its key ally in Afghanistan controls more territory than it has at any point since 2001.
  • The Obama Administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. The intelligence community has assessed that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released are either known to have or suspected of having rejoined the fight. The potential transfer of detainees to the United States, prohibited under law, would also pose a threat to the American people.
  • The United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11. ISIS is waging war here in the homeland, where there have been 21 ISIS-linked plots to launch attacks. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 81 ISIS-linked suspects, including five thus far in 2016.

TerrorThreatSnapshot_February_Social-Media-862x1024The complete February Terror Threat Snapshot is available, here.

View the Committee’s interactive Terror Threat Snapshot map, here.

Airport workers seen with laptop used in Somalia in-flight jet blast

Mogadishu-CCTV-shows-Somali-jet-bomber-being-handed-explosive-hiding-laptopCNN, By Robyn Kriel and Faith Karimi, Feb. 8, 2016:

(CNN)Somali intelligence officials say two airport workers handled a laptop that concealed a bomb that later exploded in a passenger plane.

In a video made public on Sunday by officials, one airport worker takes the laptop and hands it to another employee.

The employees then hand it over to a man who was killed when the laptop explosion blew a hole in the plane’s fuselage, said Abdisalam Aato, a spokesman for the Somali Prime Minister.

Both workers have been arrested.

Somali officials identified the lone fatality as suspect . He was sucked out of the airliner through the hole from the blast Tuesday.

Bomber knew where to sit

Investigators suspect Borleh, a Somali national, carried a laptop computer with a bomb concealed onto the plane, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

He knew precisely where to sit and how to place the device to maximize damage, the source told CNN.

Given the placement, the blast likely would have set off a catastrophic secondary explosion in the fuel tank if the aircraft had reached cruising altitude, the source said.

But the explosion happened at a lower altitude, between 12,000 feet and 14,000 feet, killing the Somali national and injuring two others.

Though preliminary tests showed the bomb contained a military grade of the explosive TNT, the source said, it failed to bring down Daallo Airlines Flight 3159. The pilot turned around and landed the Airbus safely in Mogadishu.

Somalia asked U.S. officials for help with investigations, and several FBI agents are on the ground assisting in Mogadishu, the spokesman said.

“This was a sophisticated attack … so we reached out to our international partners,” Aato said.

Militants behind attack

Investigators believe the attack was orchestrated by Al-Shabaab, although they are not certain Borleh was a direct member of the group, according to the source. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

Al-Shabaab is an al Qaeda affiliate, though some of its it has factions have declared loyalty to ISIS. It has been responsible some of the deadliest violence in recent years in Somalia and surrounding nations, including Kenya and Uganda.

At least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the blast aboard the plane, the spokesman said.

Also see:

Passenger Sucked Out of Plane at 14,000 Feet After Suspected Bomb Blasts Hole in Side of Jet

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 photo, a hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway of the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia. A gaping hole in the commercial airliner forced it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu’s international airport late Tuesday, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo)

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 photo, a hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway of the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia. A gaping hole in the commercial airliner forced it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu’s international airport late Tuesday, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo)

The Blaze, by Dave Urbanski, Feb. 3, 2016:

A passenger was ejected from a commercial plane when an explosion blew a hole in aircraft’s side just after takeoff over Somalia on Tuesday, sources told CNN.

Two other people were injured, but the pilot was able to safely land the Daallo Airlines plane back at Mogadishu International Airport, the network reported.

An airport official told CNN the Airbus A321-111 was between 12,000 and 14,000 feet in the air at the time of the explosion. A source told the network Somali authorities indicated one passenger was blown or ejected from a hole in the side of the plane after the explosion.

A hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway after an emergency landing at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016. (Awale Kullane,via AP)

A hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway after an emergency landing at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016. (Awale Kullane,via AP)

Somalia’s National News Agency reported that one passenger died after falling from Flight D3159, CNN reported, adding that Somali authorities discovered a body near Mogadishu believed to have fallen from the aircraft.

A hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway after an emergency landing at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016. (Awale Kullane,via AP)

A hole is photographed in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway after an emergency landing at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016. (Awale Kullane,via AP)

Mohamed Hassan, a police officer in Balad, an agricultural town about 18 miles north of Mogadishu, said residents had found the body of a man who might have fallen from a plane.

Cellphone video taken aboard the plane pans from passengers, some wearing oxygen masks, in seats toward the back of the airliner in flight, and then swivels to the empty front area with a hole in the side of the cabin. There is a loud sound of rushing air. The video was taken by Awale Kullane, Somalia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, and obtained by The Associated Press.

Another source told CNN that damage tests positively indicated explosive residue — but civil aviation authority officials said Wednesday they had found no evidence so far of a criminal act.

More from CNN:

If this was a bomb, no group immediately took responsibility.

Al-Shabaab has been behind some of the worst violence in recent years in and around Somalia. Some of it targeted tourists, such as last month’s deadly attack on a beachside restaurant-hotel complex in Mogadishu. Young people also have been targets, as shown in the massacre at Kenya’s Garissa University College. And the general public hasn’t escaped the group’s violence, as evidenced in a 2013 assault on an upscale mall in Nairobi.

Yet this Islamist extremist group has recently gotten competition from ISIS, with a high-ranking Al-Shabaab member and spiritual leader pledging allegiance to the rival group last fall.

Flights in and out of Mogadishu International Airport were suspended briefly Tuesday because of the Daallo Airlines incident.

That airport is home to offices of the United Nations, African Union and many diplomatic missions, including those of the United States and European Union.

Daallo Airlines is based in the United Arab Emirates and has flights to Djibouti, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.

The plane’s veteran pilot, Serbian captain Vlatko Vodopivec, told the Associated Press that he and others were told the explosion was caused by a bomb. ”It was my first bomb,” he said. “I hope it will be the last.”

The 64-year-old said the engines and hydraulics functioned normally after the blast so he had no problem flying the aircraft back to Mogadishu.

“Smoke came into the cockpit, but it was mostly concentrated in the back of the aircraft,” he said in a telephone interview from a U.N. military base in Mogadishu before he was to fly to Athens, Greece. “The stewardesses did a great job calming down the passengers and following the emergency procedure.”

Investigators moved the plane from the runway to a private hangar. Foreign technical experts were involved in the inquiry, said Ali Mohamoud, an aviation official at the Mogadishu airport.

Two passengers on board the flight that was headed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa said they heard a loud bang that left a hole in the passenger cabin.

Awale Kullane, Somalia’s deputy ambassador to the U.N. who was on board the flight, said on Facebook that he “heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds.” When visibility returned they realized “quite a chunk” of the plane was missing, he wrote.

The Left is the Real Terror Threat

deblasio_Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Jan. 27, 2016:

Men and women, some whose clothes were still marked with gray ash, walked dazedly toward Union Square. Many did not know what to do or where to go. So they kept on walking. They knew the country was under attack, but they did not know how bad it was or what might still be heading for them.

Behind them lay a changed city and thousands of American dead. Ahead was the bronze statue of George Washington, facing into the devastation and raising his hand to lead his men forward in victory. Around its base, with the destruction of the World Trade Center as their backdrop, leftists had set up shop, coloring anti-war posters even while rescue workers were risking their lives at Ground Zero.

In the coming days, the statue of Washington would be repeatedly vandalized by leftists drawing peace signs and “No War” and “War is Not the Answer” slogans on it. But that moment crystallized my realization that while Muslim terrorists had carried out the attack, it was the left we would have to fight.

While some New Yorkers had gone to help the victims of Islamic terrorists, the left had rushed to aid the terrorists. Unlike the rest of us, they were not shocked or horrified by the attack. They were treasonously working on ways to spin the murder of thousands of Americans to protect the enemy.

The greatest obstacle to defeating Islamic terrorism is still the left.

The left helped create Islamic terrorism; its immigration policies import terrorism while its civil rights arm obstructs efforts to prevent it and its anti-war rallies attack any effort to fight it. In America, in Europe and in Israel, and around the world, to get at Islamic terrorists, you have to go through the left.

When a Muslim terrorist comes to America, it’s the left that agitates to admit him. Before he kills, it’s the left that fights to protect him from the FBI. Afterward, leftists offer to be his lawyers. The left creates the crisis and then it fights against any effort to deal with it except through surrender and appeasement.

Islamic violence against non-Muslims predated the left. But it’s the left that made it our problem. Islamic terrorism in America or France exists because of Muslim immigration. And the left is obsessed with finding new ways to import more Muslims. Merkel is praised for opening up a Europe already under siege by Islamic terror, Sharia police, no-go zones and sex grooming and groping gangs, to millions.

The left feverishly demands that the whole world follow her lead. Bill Gates would like America to be just like Germany. Israel’s deranged Labor Party leader Herzog urged the Jewish State to open its doors.

And then, after the next round of stabbings, car burnings and terror attacks, they blame the West for not “integrating” the un-integratable millions who had no more interest in being integrated than their leftist patrons do in moving to Pakistan and praying to Allah on a threadbare rug. But “integration” is a euphemism for a raft of leftist agenda items from social services spending to punishing hate speech (though never that of the Imams crying for blood and death, but only of their native victims) to a foreign policy based on appeasement and surrender. Islamic terrorists kill and leftists profit from the carnage.

The ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism is a manufactured crisis that the left cultivates because that gives it power. In a world without 9/11, the Obama presidency would never have existed. Neither would the Arab Spring and the resulting migration and wholesale transformation of Western countries.

In the UK, Labour used Muslim immigration as a deliberate political program to “change the country.” In Israel, Labor struck an illegal deal with Arafat that put sizable portions of the country under the control of terrorists while forcing the Jewish State into a series of concessions to terrorists and the left. The same fundamental pattern of Labour and Labor and the whole left is behind the rise of Islamic terrorism.

Muslim terrorism creates pressure that the left uses to achieve policy goals. Even when it can’t win elections, Muslim terrorism allows the left to create a crisis and then to set an agenda.

The left’s patronage of Islamic terrorists for its own political purposes follows a thread back to the origin of Islamic terrorism. Islamic violence against non-Muslims dates back to the founding of Islam, but the tactics of modern Islamic terrorism owe as much to Lenin as they do to Mohammed.

Today’s Islamic terrorist is the product of traditional Islamic theology and Soviet tactics. The USSR did not intend to create Al Qaeda, but they provided training and doctrine to terrorists from the Muslim world. The “secular” and “progressive” terrorists of the left either grew Islamist, like Arafat, or their tactics were copied and expanded on, like the PFLP, by a new generation of Islamic terrorists.

The earlier phase of Islamic organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, had been inspired by fascists who were seeking to use them in their own wars. Over this layer of secret societies plotting takeovers and building networks of front groups, the Soviet Union added the terror tactics that had been employed by the left. And the leftist mad bomber became the Muslim suicide bomber.

Terrorism in the Muslim world has evolved from functioning as a Third World proxy army for the left, in much the same way as guerrillas and terrorists from Asia, Africa and Latin America had, to a diaspora whose migrations lend a domestic terror arm to a Western left whose own spiteful activists have grown unwilling to put their lives on the line and go beyond tweeting words to throwing bombs.

With the Muslim Brotherhood, the origin organization of Al Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas, among many others, so tightly integrated into the American and European left that it is often hard to see where one begins and the other ends, Islam has become the militant arm of the purportedly secular left. Western leftists and Islamists have formed the same poisonous relationship as Middle Eastern leftists and Islamists did leading to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Arab Spring. Leftists expected Islamists to do the dirty work while they would take over. Instead the Islamists won and killed them.

Having learned nothing from the Hitler-Stalin pact, the left has replayed the same betrayal with the Mohammed-Stalin pact in the Middle East and now in the West. But the end of the Mohammed-Stalin pact will not be a Socialist totalitarian utopia, but an Islamic theocracy of slaves, terror and death.

On September 11, I saw with my own eyes how eager and willing leftists were to rush to the aid of Islamic terrorists even while their fellow Americans were dying. Nothing has changed. Every Islamic act of brutality is met with lies and spin, with mass distraction and deception by the treasonous left. Every effort to fight Islamic terrorists is sabotaged, undermined and protested by the enemy within.

Since September 11, the left has trashed the FBI’s counterterrorism and has now succeeded in destroying the NYPD’s counterrorism while transforming the FDNY into an affirmative action project. What the September 11 hijackers could never accomplish on their own, the leftists did for them by defeating the three forces that had stood against Islamic terrorists on that day. And it would not surprise me at all if some of the “No War” scribblers have gone on to play an influential role in that treason.

The left has crippled domestic and international counterterrorism. American soldiers are not allowed to shoot terrorists and the FBI and NYPD can’t monitor mosques or even be taught what to look for. Islamic terrorism has achieved unprecedented influence and power under Obama. ISIS has created the first functioning caliphate and Iran marches toward the first Jihadist nuclear bomb. The mass Muslim migration is beginning a process that will Islamize Europe far more rapidly than anyone expects.

The Jihad would not be a significant threat without the collaboration of the left. Without the left standing in the way, it’s a problem that could be solved in a matter of years. With the aid of the left, it threatens human civilization with a dark age that will erase our culture, our future and our freedom.

We cannot defeat Islam without defeating the left. That is the lesson I learned on September 11. It is a lesson that appears truer every single year as the left finds new ways to endanger us all.

Mosque with Ties to Palestinian Jihad Gets Gun Training

mtFrontpage, by Joe Kaufman, Jan. 22, 2016:

CAIR-Florida Regional Operations Director Nezar Hamze’s mosque gun training tour has taken him to numerous Islamic centers throughout Florida. One of the centers is the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton, a radical mosque with a sinister past of embrace for those associated with Palestinian terror, including support for suicide attackers and their families.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR-Florida has, in the recent past, been involved in supporting Palestinian terrorism. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” After the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

CAIR-Florida’s national parent organization, CAIR, was created as a part of a terrorist umbrella organization headed by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, and was named by the US Justice Department as a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.

Nezar Hamze is the CEO and Regional Operations Director for CAIR-Florida. Ironically, he is also a Deputy in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Over the past month or so, Hamze has used his position as a Deputy Sheriff to go into radical mosques throughout the state and teach the congregations how to use guns properly and how to obtain government grants for security systems (to protect from law enforcement conducting surveillance).

One of the mosques Hamze has given training to is Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), located in Margate, Florida. That mosque’s imam – who attended Hamze’s class – Izhar Khan, had previously been arrested, according to the indictment against him, for “collecting and delivering money for the Pakistani Taliban.”

Another of the mosques receiving the training, the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton (ISSB), has also had a terror-related history and its own imam with involvement in a terrorist organization. And like CAIR, it has been Palestinian terrorism and worse.

According to the ISSB newsletter The Faith, in May 2001, the mosque’s children’s school, Dar al-Iman, was visited by then-professor at the University of South Florida (USF), Sami al-Arian, to discuss with the school’s parents “the opportunity for [their] children to attend a fulltime Islamic school in Tampa.” The school is presumably the Islamic Academy of Florida (IAF), an institution founded by al-Arian in 1992 and which is still in existence under a new name.

At the time of his visit, Al-Arian was also the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). In April 2006, al-Arian pled guilty to conspiracy to provide services to PIJ. Between 1986 and 1992, al-Arian helped found a charity, a think tank, and the IAF school, all of which, according to the indictment against him, were actively used “to raise funds and provide support for the PIJ and their operatives in the Middle East, in order to assist its engagement in, and promotion of, violent attacks…”

As well, according to The Faith, from the beginning of 2000 through the end of 2001, Friday prayers at ISSB were led by al-Arian colleagues Mazen al-Najjar and Hussam Jubara on at least eight separate occasions each.

According to the US Justice Department, Al-Najjar, the brother-in-law of al-Arian, “had established ties to terrorist organizations and held leadership positions” within groups that raised funds for PIJ and Hamas. Those groups included al-Arian’s founded charity, Islamic Concern Project (ICP), and al-Arian’s founded think tank, World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE). Following his imprisonment, in August 2002, al-Najjar was deported from the US.

Jubara, then-professor at the University of Central Florida (UCF), co-founded the Islamic Concern Project (originally Islamic Committee for Palestine) with al-Arian. Jubara was arrested in March 2003 and charged and convicted of felony immigration fraud. Later, he too would be deported.

In January 2001, under the banner of ‘Aqsa Victims,’ The Faith announced that the mosque’s “community members” had raised $4000 to be sent to the family of Palestinian “martyrs.” The newsletter read, “The second payment of donations for Aqsa victims were sent the martyrs families and needy in the West Bank in Palestine.” With regard to Palestinians, the term ‘martyrs’ denotes either terrorists (general) or suicide bombers (specific).

In January 2002, a decision was made by ISSB to hire as its full-time imam Muneer Arafat and have Arafat relocate from New York, where he had a residence at the time. In 2001, Arafat had already been leading mosque prayers and teaching Islamic classes to the mosque congregation.

Prior to New York, Arafat had been living in St. Louis, Missouri. It was there that he first met up with Sami al-Arian, at an ICP conference in 1988. Arafat, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was there to deliver a message from his spiritual guide, PIJ leader Assad Bayyoud Tamimi, who was unable to attend the conference. In June 2005, while giving courtroom testimony about al-Arian, Arafat stated that he is in favor of PIJ’s “goal of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state.”

While residing in Saint Louis, Arafat also came into contact with al-Qaeda and Hamas operative Ziyad Khaleel. The two became roommates.

In May 1998, at the behest of a senior al-Qaeda lieutenant, Khaleel delivered a satellite phone and battery pack he had purchased to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, which was later used to plan the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. As well, Khaleel was a webmaster for the official website of Hamas and lectured at the University of Missouri on behalf of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a now-defunct Hamas propaganda group co-founded by al-Arian and Hamas global leader Mousa Abu Marzook.

Shortly after his May 2003 arrest by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Arafat was hired as the imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), a radical mosque with a number of terrorist associations. Arafat’s predecessor, Ibrahim Dremali, an extremist in his own right, was placed on the federal “no-fly” list and too would later be arrested.

During Arafat’s term as imam, one of the directors of the mosque was ICBR co-founder Bassem Alhalabi. Alhalabi was a research assistant for al-Arian at USF and was charged, in June 2003, with the illegal export of a $13,000 military thermal imaging device to Syria. Also, while Arafat was imam, ICBR member Rafiq Sabir was arrested and charged with conspiring to provide material support to Al-Qaeda. Sabir received a 25-year prison sentence.

Not surprisingly, CAIR-Florida has previously trained ICBR on how to avoid being questioned by the FBI.

For Nezar Hamze and CAIR to be involved in training radical mosques on how to use guns and how to bilk money from the government for purposes of “security,” no doubt, constitutes a clear and present danger to the residents of Florida and beyond.

Easily, one or more of the individuals sitting in on this training could be the next San Bernardino shooter(s) or the next Times Square bomber(s). Placing this knowledge into the wrong hands, as Hamze has done with Muslim extremists, is essentially providing instruction to wannabe jihadists.

If you are concerned about the CAIR-Florida gun training and wish to voice your opinion, you can contact the Miami FBI office by email at Miami@ic.fbi.gov or by phone at 754-703-2000. Please be respectful in any and all communications with this office.

Prof DEBUNKS study claiming right-wing extremists in U.S. more deadly than Islamic terrorists

 (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The College Fix, by Michael McGrady, JANUARY 18, 2016:

A widely touted study claiming right-wing extremism is more deadly than Islamic terrorism in the United States has been debunked by a history professor who shows that, in actuality, there have been 62 Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in the U.S. for every one American killed by right-wing extremists.

Professor Andrew Holt of Florida State College at Jacksonville recently published his analysis that discredits the widespread sentiment that right-wing attackers are the deadliest domestic terrorists in the U.S.

“If you include the death totals from 9/11 in such a calculation, then there have been around 62 people killed in the United States by Islamic extremists for every one American killed by a right wing terrorist,” Holt stated in his analysis.

Holt’s analysis points out numerous flaws in the highly cited study released in 2015 by New America Foundation, which claimed 48 deaths in the U.S. were due to “far right wing attacks” while only counting 45 deaths due to “violent jihadist attacks.”

The study’s findings were not only touted by many major news outlets across the nation as proof that fears over radical Islamic terror in the U.S. are overblown, but the findings are also used today in some college classrooms as an example of Islamophobia.

But, Holt points out the foundation’s findings are based on flawed data sets.

For one, the foundation did not count the deaths on Sept. 11. Secondly, it did not factor in extraordinary security measures, such as the Patriot Act and the
creation of Homeland Security, put in place after 9/11 that prevented a large number of attempted attacks by Islamic terrorists on American soil.

Moreover, the foundation’s count does not recognize “the disproportionately high number of attacks by Islamic extremists in the United States, who, even after excluding the victims of 9/11, are still responsible for around 50 percent of the total number of deaths due to extremism, even though Muslims only account for around 1 percent of the total U.S. population,” Holt states.

Underscoring all that, Holt said the foundation’s count ignored more than a half-dozen examples of radical Islamic terrorism deaths in the U.S.

One of the most glaring omissions, he noted, is the 2002 D.C. Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who admitted to authorities that they were inspired by Osama bin Laden and sought to set up a terrorist training camp.

“Indeed, on April 22, 2005, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed [the] death penalty on the basis that Muhammad had committed an act of terrorism,” Holt stated. “Together, Muhammad and Malvo killed at least ten people. Yet [the foundation] does not list their victims among those under the category of ‘violent jihadist attacks.’”

“If we add Muhammad and Malvo’s victims to the total number of Americans killed by Islamic extremists since 9/11, then the number killed rises to 55, a total higher than the 48 deaths they attribute to right wing extremism.”

Holt added additional deaths due to Islamic terror in the U.S. are not counted by the foundation, including:

In June of 2006 in Denver, a man shot four of his co-workers and a swat team member, killing one. He later claimed he did it because it was “Allah’s choice.” In December of 2009 in Binghamton, a Saudi Arabian graduate student named Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani killed Richard T. Antoun, a non-Muslim Islamic studies professor who served on al-Zahrani’s dissertation committee, in revenge for “persecuted” Muslims. Prior to the killing one of al-Zahrani’s roommates tried to warn the university administration that he had been acting “like a terrorist.” In 2012 in Houston, in two separate incidents in January and in November, two people were shot to death by a Muslim extremist for their roles in his daughter’s conversion to Christianity. In March of 2013 in Ashtabula (Ohio), a Muslim convert walked into a Christian Church during an Easter service and killed his father, claiming it was “the will of Allah.” In August of 2014 in Richmond (California) killed an Ace Hardware employee by stabbing him seventeen times, claiming he was on a “mission from Allah.”

RELATED: College students taught most U.S. terrorists ‘conservative’ white men

In an email interview with The College Fix, Holt emphasized that any extremist attack is disturbing and must be condemned, adding “my comments are not intended to discount the very real suffering of victims of right wing terror.”

Nevertheless, Americans have been misled by the foundation’s study and deserve an accurate picture, Holt said.

“The study has been widely reported in the mainstream press, and those reports have been widely shared on social media, often cited as evidence for the surprising claim above,” Holt told The College Fix. “… But the reality is that if you include the deaths from 9/11, then the raw and ugly numbers show that over the last 15 years more Americans have died as a result of Islamic extremism than right wing extremism by an extraordinarily lopsided ratio of more than 62 to 1.”

“Moreover, even if you exclude the deaths of 9/11 for some reason, but do not apply the very limiting parameters used in the New American study, then you still get a higher number of total U.S. deaths from Islamic extremism than from right wing extremism.”

Asked whether he is concerned his colleagues or other experts may refute his analysis by calling it racist or discriminatory, Holt replied that while he sometimes worries about how his comments can be interpreted, he is not the only academic concerned with the claim right-wing extremism is more dangerous than radical Islam in the U.S.

“I have a number of academic colleagues with similar concerns when commenting on sensitive topics like the relationship of Islam to modern terrorism,” Holt told The Fix. “…Obviously, not all terrorists are Muslims, and I have known many Muslims whose views of Islam are compatible with western values. Moreover, the evidence shows that a majority of Muslims reject the methods of groups like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.”

“Yet to acknowledge that the Muslim world is particularly struggling with the issue of terrorism, on a much greater scale than adherents of any other religion, is not racist or discriminatory if it is based on the available evidence.”

RELATED: UNC’s ‘Literature of 9/11’ course sympathizes with terrorists, paints U.S. as imperialistic

Andrew Holt, Ph.D.

Andrew Holt, Ph.D.

Holt has expansive research in the areas of medieval history, the crusades, and the Middle East in present day, and has also tracked the rise of ISIS for the last 18-plus months. Holt has also co-edited two books on the crusades, including one that focuses on modern myths of the crusading movement, and he recently completed a three-volume encyclopedia focused on pivotal events in religious history that is slated to be published in late 2016.

Michael McGrady is a sophomore studying political science and criminal justice at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. When not writing for The College Fix, he’s hiking the mountains of Colorado as a wildlife photographer. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense and numerous political campaigns.

Bill to Designate Brotherhood as Terror Org. Gains Support

CAIR Founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad (right) with Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's spokesperson and national communications director. (Photo: © Reuters)

CAIR Founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad (right) with Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s spokesperson and national communications director. (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Jan. 17, 2016:

Ten more members of Congress have agreed to cosponsor the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015 since our last update. The legislation identifies three U.S.-based groups — including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—  as part of the Brotherhood network linked to financing Hamas.

If passed, the bill would state that Congress believes the Muslim Brotherhood fits the State Department’s criteria of a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Secretary of State would be required to designate the Brotherhood within 60 days or to provide a detailed report explaining why it does not. Three U.S.-based Brotherhood entities named in the bill are CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).

The House version of the bill (HR3892) was introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) with Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Randy K. Weber (R-TX), Diane Black (R-TN) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as original cosponsors. They are now joined by Reps. Steve King (R-IA); Steven Palazzo (R-MS); Kay Granger (R-TX); Jim Jordan (R-OH); Steve Stivers (R-OH); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Charles W. Dent (R-PA); Bill Johnson (R-OH) and David A. Trott (R-MI).

HR3892 was referred to the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on December 4, 2015. Two cosponsors, Rep. Gohmert and Rep. Trott, sit on that subcommittee.

The Senate version of the bill (S2230) was introduced by presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and later cosponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). It was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 3. Two of Senator Cruz’s presidential rivals, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sit on that committee and have not taken a position on the bill.

Although the bill has yet to earn bi-partisan support at this early stage, it is supported by members of Congress from different spectrums of the Republican Party. It includes endorsers of the presidential campaigns of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich and not only supporters of Ted Cruz.

As our original article about the legislation explained, the bill could be a watershed moment in the fight against Islamist extremism. It is important for voters to know where their representatives stand on this important issue.

We encourage readers to contact their representatives and Senators and ask them for a position statement. Please forward any official statement to the Clarion Project so we can update readers on where they stand on the Muslim Brotherhood. A statement of opposition is just as important as a statement of support.

Of particular interest are the members of Congress who are assigned to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Below is a table of those who sit on those committees and have yet to take a position:

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration & Border Security Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ken Buck (R-CO) Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY)
Luis Gutirrez (D-IL) Ben Cardin (D-MD); Ranking Member
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Raul Labrador (R-ID), Vice Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN); Chairman
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) Cory Gardner (R-CO)
John Ratcliffe (R-TX) Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  Edward Markey (D-WA)
  Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
  Chris Murphy (D-CT)
  Rand Paul (R-KY)
  David Perdue (R-GA)
  James Risch (R-ID)
  Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
 
Tom Udall (D-NM)

Islamism Responsible for More U.S. Murders than ‘Right-Wing’ Extremism

2275MEF, by Johanna Markind
Independent Journal Review
January 14, 2016

Originally published under the title “Islamist Violence Is Responsible for More Murders in the U.S. than ‘Right Wing Extremism’.”

Every murder is a tragedy, for the victims, their families, and their friends, and that remains true no matter who killed them or why.

That being said, the current administration has persistently worked to focus attention away from Islamist violence and toward right-wing violence and gun control. President Obama’s announced executive action plan regardingfirearms is the latest salvo in the effort, which has been picked up by media and think tanks friendly to the administration.

After the Charleston church attack, the president quoted Martin Luther King, saying we must be concerned with “the philosophy that produced the murderers.” After the Colorado Planned Parenthood attack, Obama warned not to “demonize” the victim organization. After the Boston marathon bombing, he warned people against rushing to judgment “about the motivations of these individuals” (in other words, not to demonize the perpetrators) or “entire groups of people.” His administration labeled the 2009 Fort Hood attack “workplace violence.” With few exceptions, the president attributes ideological motives to non-Islamist mass casualty attacks, and non-ideological motives to Islamist attacks.

Obama has focused attention away from Islamist violence and toward right-wing violence and gun control.

Last June, the New America Foundation (NAF) – whose president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly held a policy position in the administration – released a study purportedly showing “right-wing” extremism had killed more Americans than “jihadist attacks” i.e., Islamist violence, since 9/11. The study, andmedia coverage of it, implied popular concern about Islamist violence was overblown, because “the main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists.”

The study misleadingly implied that the threat of Muslim violence is less severe than other threats. Preliminarily, the list ignores other types of terrorism.

The list of “right wing” murders mixes several different ideologies, including various types of racism, such as white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-black, and anti-Semitic (30), plus anti-government (15), anti-abortion (4), and anti-homosexual (2) beliefs. Three murders had both racist and anti-government motivations; the above numbers double-count them.

By contrast, the list of “jihadist” murders reflects a single ideology, that of radical Islam or Islamism. It may be incomplete. For example, on February 5, 2013, Yusuf Ibrahim beheaded two Copts in New Jersey. In October 2002, Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo killed ten people. There are indications these murders were motivated by Islamism.

Even excluding the twelve Ibrahim and Muhammad-Malvo killings, at least 45 murders since 9/11 were motivated by Islamism, making it the ideology responsible for more deaths than any other in the US.

Furthermore, if we take as expansive a view of Muslim violence as NAF took of “right-wing” violence, we should include victims of the barbaric practice of “honor killings” – killing someone, usually a woman, who allegedly brought shame on her family. Some have Islamist overtones. For example, in July 2002, Alim Hassan killed his wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law, reportedly because the wife refused to convert from Hinduism to Islam. Since 9/11, there have been at least twelve honor killings in the US. A May 2015 report funded by and submitted to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) estimated that there are 23-27 honor killings in the US each year.

The NAF study implies that law enforcement should devote more resources to right-wing extremism than Islamism.

Adding known honor-killing victims to NAF’s list, Muslim violence has accounted for at least 57 deaths since 9/11. Of course, if we add in the2,977 fatalities from 9/11, that number would be 3,034.

The NAF study and related coverage implied law enforcement should devote more resources to “right-wing” extremism than Islamist violence. That seems consistent with administration policy. For instance, recent DOJ grants to study domestic radicalization required recipients to study several types of extremism, given that the “majority of studies… focused on al-Qaida and other Islamic-inspired violent extremists at the detriment to… other violent extremist ideologies.”

It is probably true that more government resources could be devoted to preventing “right-wing attacks,” and the public should be mindful of the dangers. It is certainly true that preventing Islamist attacks deserves the lion’s share of government resources.

That is apparent from NAF’s own data. Its list of “Terror Plots” since 9/11 notes over 150 Islamist plots. It lists but a single “right-wing” plot; presumably the list is incomplete, if only because NAF’s list of “right-wing” fatalities identified several other incidents. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 56 incidents of “right-wing” terrorism between April 1, 2009 and February 1, 2015. Approximately 92 of the Islamist incidents identified by NAF occurred during the same time period. Fortunately, most were foiled, or the casualties would be much higher. NAF also identifies 499 total “extremists,” of whom 182 are “nonjihadist” and 317 – or 75% more – are Islamist.

It’s also worth noting that the US Muslim population is roughly 1/100 that of its white population(which perpetrated most “right-wing” violence). Per capita, the incidence of ideological violence within the Muslim community is much greater.

Recognizing a problem is critical to solving it, and prioritizing correctly is critical to triaging effectively. Gun violence, and the ideologies lumped together as “right-wing,” are serious concerns, but they are not the most dangerous ideology confronting America today. Islamist violence is. To echo Dr. King, at some point, we must be concerned with the philosophy that produces Islamist murderers.

Johanna Markind is associate counselor at the Middle East Forum

Islamic State launches suicide assault in Indonesia’s capital

Oscar Siagian/Getty

Oscar Siagian/Getty

Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio, January 14, 2016

The Islamic State claimed credit for a suicide assault in the capital of Jakarta that killed two people. Indonesian officials said the Islamic State fighters are fighters linked to a cell that is based in Syria.

Islamic State split up into at least two teams and opened fire at Starbucks and a department store in downtown Jakarta, according to Reuters. Police exchanged gunfire with the jihadists for three hours before the attack was defeated. Some of the gunmen were killed and some blew themselves up, while two of them were captured. The Islamic State fighters detonated several bombs during the fighting.

Civilian casualties were surprisingly low given that both attacks took place in crowded locations. One Canadian and one Indonesian citizen were killed during the fighting.

The Islamic State immediately claimed credit for the attack in an official communique that was disseminated by the groups supporters on social media websites.

“A security detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate target a gathering of the charges of the Crusader alliance in Jakarta city,” according to the statement which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Islamic State claimed that fighters armed with “light weaponry and explosive belts” attacked after “several timed canisters” or explosives were detonated. According to the Islamic State, “nearly 15 Crusader foreigners” and their local guards were killed. The Islamic State routinely exaggerates the effects of their attacks.

Indonesian officials immediately linked the attack to the Islamic State’s headquarters in Syria. Jakarta’s police chief said that an Indonesian known as Bahrun Naim, who is based in Raqqa, Syria, plotted the Jakarta assault, Reuters reported.

Today’s attack in Jakarta is the latest claimed by the Islamic State outside of Iraq and Syria. Most recently, in November of last year, the Islamic State executed a complex suicide assault in Paris, France, that killed more than 120 people.

The Islamic State in Indonesia

Jihadists in Indonesia who previously have been loyal to al Qaeda have been divided since the Islamic State was formed in June 2014.  A number of jihadists previously loyal to Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s branch in Indonesia, split from the group in August 2014 shortly after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared the Islamic State and named himself as “caliph”.  Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible for numerous deadly terrorist attacks in Indonesia over the past two decades, including the deadly bombing in Bali.

Shortly after Baghdadi’s announcement, Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader and cofounder of Jemaah Islamiyah as well as the emir of Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, pledged allegiance to Baghdadi. Bashir, a veteran jihadist, made his pledge to Baghdadi while in prison. In 2011, he was convicted of “committing a criminal act of terrorism” by founding and supporting a terrorist group known as al Qaeda in Aceh and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to nine years.

Following Bashir’s oath of loyalty to Baghdadi, Bashir’s sons, Abdul Iim Rohim and Rosyid Ridho, and a number of senior jihadists broke away from the veteran jihadist and spiritual leader and formed their own group, known as Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah. According to the Jakarta Post, more than 50 percent of Bashir’s followers abandoned him and joined Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah.

Mochammad Achwan, the emir of Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah, admitted to the Jakarta Post at the time of the split that his group is part of al Qaeda’s global network and receives orders and advice from leaders overseas.

“Our sharia councils in Yemen and Syria have denounced ISIL [Islamic State] because the group has deviated from the right course in forming a caliphate,” Achwan said. “We received our direction from our respected clerics in JN [Jabhat al Nusrah, or the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria], and we have supported the group in many ways.”

In addition to Bashir’s Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, another group, known as the Mujahidin Indonesian Timur, has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. Both groups are listed by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Abu Warda Santoso, the leader of the Mujahidin Indonesian Timur, has also sworn allegiance to Baghdadi.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

***

Also see:

Rise in U.S. Terror Plots Tied to ‘Unprecedented’ Spike in Immigration

Migrants and refugees walk towards the border with Serbia / AP

Migrants and refugees walk towards the border with Serbia / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 14, 2016:

There is growing concern on Capitol Hill that a recent spike in the number of foreigners arrested in the United States on terrorism charges is the result of a flawed Obama administration immigration policy that will grant residence to around 170,000 individuals from Muslim-majority nations in the coming year, according to conversations with lawmakers and congressional sources.

With the indictment last week of two Iraqi refugees who allegedly conspired with ISIS, a number of lawmakers are now warning that poor screening methods and an administration plan to boost immigration will endanger national security.

Recent efforts by Congress to investigate the immigration histories of at least 113 foreign-born individuals snagged on terror charges since 2014 have been blocked by the Obama administration. There are at least 1,000 open investigations into ISIS members residing in the United States, sources said.

New cases of legal immigrants participating in alleged terrorist plots are cropping up on a near daily basis, according to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who has been spearheading an effort to investigate how these individuals are passing through U.S. security screenings.

“Almost every day there is a new case that documents the relentless attacks being waged against our nation,” said Cruz. “We have militants who have infiltrated waves of refugees to come to American and plot attacks. We have Americans who have travelled abroad to train returning to wage jihad here. We have home-grown terrorists who are receiving instruction online to hatch attacks.”

“We have to stop treating this pattern as the isolated actions of lone wolves,” Cruz added. “They are a pack.”

Networks of radicalized individuals are already forming within the United States due to a massive influx of more than 680,000 immigrants from Muslim-majority nations during the past five years, according to Stephen Miller, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), another lawmaker who has worked to expose flaws in the U.S. immigration system.

“Unprecedented rates of migration, combined with poor screening, have created a perfect storm,” Miller said. “There are now nearly 1,000 open ISIS investigations within our borders, and underneath these cases are large extremists networks made possible by a total lack of immigration controls.”

On Tuesday, a Maryland man was arrested for attempting to join the Al Shabaab terror network. Last week, a Philadelphia police officer was nearly killed by an assailant who pledged allegiance to ISIS. Late last year, two radicalized immigrants went on a massive shooting spree in San Bernardino, California, in what was the biggest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Meanwhile, previously undisclosed documents released by the State Department on Wednesday reveal that it has known since 2004 that “Arab extremists” are being smuggled into the U.S. via Mexico.

The administration and majority of Congress have passed on new pieces of legislation aimed of halting immigration from countries where major terror groups are based.

“We have to coordinate our actions to protect ourselves—and since President Obama told us last night [at the State of the Union] he has no intention of taking robust action to defeat this enemy, Congress must act by passing TRIPA,” a piece of legislation that would place a three-year hold on granting residency in the United States for refugees coming from nations where al Qaeda and ISIS control significant territory, Cruz said.

He also called for the passage of another stalled piece of legislation that would cancel the U.S. citizenship of any person who travels abroad to join a terror group.

Cultural concerns about the way terrorism is discussed also has hampered America’s ability to address the growing threat, according to Cruz, who called for “ending the self-defeating political correctness that prevents us from calling radical Islamic terrorist attacks for what they are.”

Cruz and Sessions launched an investigation last week into the Obama administration’s refusal to release the immigration records of those 113 foreigners brought up on recent terrorism charges, including the San Bernardino shooters.

The administration, including the Departments of State and Homeland Security, has withheld this information from the senators since August.

Asked to address the delay this week, officials from State and Homeland Security both declined to provide information.

A Homeland Security source said that it would “respond directly to the senators,” though the source would not specify when.

A State Department official confirmed that it had received notification that Cruz and Sessions had opened an investigation, but also declined to provide further information.

“We have received the letters and will respond appropriately,” the official said.

Other prominent lawmakers expressed frustration that little is being done to address known flaws in the immigration and U.S. screening system.

“There is no question that the U.S. remains vulnerable to infiltration by radical Islamists on a wide variety of fronts,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

DeSantis, who also chairs the House’s Subcommittee on National Security, publicly vented his frustration about flaws in the U.S. screening process in late December, when he questioned a senior Homeland Security official in what was later seen as one of the administration’s more embarrassing moments on Capitol Hill.

That official, Kelli Ann Burriesci, the department’s deputy assistant secretary for screening coordination, was unable to tell Congress how many individuals with expired visas are still living in the United States. She also did not know how many Syrian refugees had entered the United States in the last year, nor the number of Americans who have travelled to Syria.

“The federal government doesn’t control our borders and therefore cannot prevent illegal entry of those who want to do us harm,” DeSantis said on Wednesday. “The refugee program cannot adequately screen refugees and so we’ve continued to see individuals admitted as refugees brought up on terror charges and will no doubt see many more.”

At the same time, “the legal immigration system—including fiancé visas and visa waiver travel from countries such as Belgium that are teeming with jihadists—effectively provides a pathway for terrorists and their supporters to enter our country unimpeded,” DeSantis warned.” These disastrous policies are inviting more terror attacks against the United States.”

With the immigration issue likely to take center stage in 2016 with the planned influx of up to 10,000 Syrian refugees, terrorism expert Patrick Poole noted that the threat of terror attacks in the United States is at the highest point in modern history.

“The ISIS-inspired domestic terror threat is unlike anything we’ve seen since 9/11,” Poole said. “By the midpoint of 2015 we saw the number of international-related terror arrests eclipse the previous two years combined. That’s simply staggering.”

Major American cities have reported “nearly 100 active ISIS-related terror investigations,” according to Poole, who explained that the influx has taxed local FBI bureaus.

“As we tragically saw in San Bernardino last month, the potentially lethal nature of the threat right now would be hard to overstate,” Poole said.

Also see:

Disclosure: Another 41 Foreign-Born Individuals Snagged On Terror Charges

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 8, 2016:

Following the discovery of a terrorist cell in Texas allegedly operated by an Iraqi who entered the United States as a refugee, the Washington Free Beacon has learned of an additional 41 individuals who have been implicated in terrorist plots in the United States since 2014, bringing the total number of terrorists discovered since that time to 113, according to information provided by Congressional sources.

Since August, however, the Obama administration has stonewalled Congressional efforts to obtain more detailed immigration histories of these individuals, prompting frustration on Capitol Hill and accusation that the administration is covering up these histories to avoid exposing flaws in the U.S. screening process.

The disclosure of these additional 41 individuals linked to terror operations—many already identified as immigrants, others’ immigration histories shrouded in secrecy—has stoked further concerns about flaws in the U.S. screening process and is likely to prompt further congressional inquiry into Obama administration efforts to withhold details about these suspects, sources said.

As the number of legal immigrants connected to terrorism continues to grow, the Obama administration has sought to quash congressional inquiries and rally its allies behind an effort to fund efforts to boost the number of immigrants and refugees from the Middle East.

Many of these immigrants have been caught by authorities planning terrorist attacks on American soil, while others were found to be involved in efforts to provide funding and material to ISIS, according to an internal list of migrant terrorists codified by congressional sources and viewed by the Free Beacon.

“A growing number of foreign-born terrorists are being identified operating within the United States, and yet the Administration will not provide any information about their immigrant histories,” said one senior congressional source apprised of the issue. “And one can only imagine that for every identified terrorist, there are many more individuals around them who are radicalized, extreme or otherwise detracting from American society in ways beyond the threat of terrorism alone.”

As congressional calls for increased screening methods go mostly ignored, local authorities are dealing with an uptick in terror-related crimes committed by legal immigrants.

On Thursday, the Justice Department accused two Iraqi refugees legally in the U.S. of conspiring to provide support to ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a 24-year-old Palestinian born Iraqi refugee who had been living in Texas, was charged with aiding ISIS. The man had been granted legal permanent residence in Houston in 2011, though it was later determined that he “swore untruthfully on his formal application when applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen,” according to the Justice Department.

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, also a Palestinian born Iraqi, allegedly “traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” according to the Justice Department

Al-Jayab entered the U.S. as a refugee in 2012 and later travelled back to Syria, where it is believed that he resumed “fighting with various terrorist organizations,” according to the charges.

Late Thursday, a Philadelphia police officer was reportedly ambushed by an assailant sporting “Muslim garb and wearing a mask,” according to local reports.

Additional information viewed by the Free Beacon outlines another 20 previously unknown individuals brought up on similar terrorism-related charges in 2015 alone.

Those who have been charged were legally residing in the U.S. after entering from countries such as Egypt, Uzbekistan, Albania, Pakistan, and Syria, according to information provided by Congressional sources.

“The terrorism-related arrests of two more Iraqi refugees on American soil proves once again our screening process is weak and needs to be updated,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill,) said in a statement Friday.

With incidents and indictments of this nature continuing to rise, critics of the Obama administration’s immigration policy are expressing concern about a last-minute funding effort in 2015 to fully fund refugee resettlement and visa programs.

These priorities, which were granted full funding as part of a yearly spending bill approved by Congress last year, will permit around 170,000 new migrants from Muslim-majority countries to enter the United States in 2016, according to the Senate’s immigration subcommittee.

“The omnibus gave the green light for the administration to continue this failed immigration policy over the objections of the electorate,” the senior Congressional source quoted above said.

The Senate continues to uncover dozens of cases in which individuals accused of terrorism entered the country legally.

“Preventing and responding to these acts is an effort encompassing thousands of federal agents and attorneys and billions of dollars: In effect, we are voluntarily admitting individuals at risk for terrorism and then, on the back end, trying to stop them from carrying out their violent designs,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) warned last year as Congress considered the spending bill.